Armand J. Piron

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Armand J. Piron
Birth nameArmand John Piron
Born(1888-08-16)August 16, 1888
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
DiedFebruary 17, 1943(1943-02-17) (aged 54)
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
GenresJazz, Dixieland
Years active1904–1935

Armand John "A.J." Piron (August 16, 1888 – February 17, 1943) was an American jazz violinist who led a dance bands during the 1920s and 1930s.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

A.J. Piron was born August 16, 1888, to Octave Louis Piron and Marie Jeanne Zeringue (Jennie). While this is the date according to his draft registration card, his birth record states he was born August 26, 1889. The former date is more widely accepted.[3] At home his family spoke English and French patois, although Piron spoke mostly English.[3]

Piron grew up with his five siblings in the 7th Ward at 1523-24 Columbus Street, steps from Claiborne Avenue,[3] which at that time was a bustling, tree-lined center of commerce and community life. Octave Piron was a shoemaker and a musician himself. He was both a music teacher and played in the Philharmonic Orchestra alongside many well known musicians of the time like Manuel Perez, Charlie Elgar, Ida Rose, and Alphonse Picou, among others.[3] Octave Piron taught his sons Milford, Albert, and Armand Piron how to play.[3]

At the age of seven Piron had an accident that damaged one of his legs. For the next five years while Piron recovered, he devoted himself to practicing the violin.[3] This could be the reason A.J. Piron didn't join the numerous marching bands popular in New Orleans at that time but instead became a dance and concert band musician.[3][4] At age twelve Piron made his musical debut when he joined a band his father led that included some of his students and Piron's brothers.[3][4]


In 1903 Piron began playing in the Bloom Philharmonic. In 1908 he played for the Peerless Orchestra. Then in 1913 he played in the large, legendary orchestra organized by John P. Robichaux for the Carnival ball of the Elves of Oberon.[3] That same year Piron was playing at the Rose Bud Theater on Dryades Street, sometimes with Papa Celestin's Tuxedo band. He also played in the Olympia Band with Sydney Bechet, Kid Ory, Louis Keppard, and Clarence Williams, among others.[3]

After touring briefly with W.C. Handy in 1917, Piron started an orchestra which included Lorenzo Tio, Steve Lewis,[5] John Lindsay, and Peter Bocage.[6] The theme song of the orchestra was "The Purple Rose of Cairo", written by Piron and Steve Lewis.[7][5] In 1923, Piron took his band to New York City.[6][8]


  1. ^ Morton, Brian; Cook, Richard (4 November 2010). The Penguin Jazz Guide: The History of the Music in the 1000 Best Albums. Penguin. pp. 81–. ISBN 978-0-14-195900-9. Retrieved 7 October 2018.
  2. ^ "A.J. Piron (1888-1943)". Red Hot Jazz Archive. August 2020. Retrieved 1 August 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Lindstrom 1, Vernhettes 2, Bo 1, Dan 2 (2015). Jazz Puzzles Volume 2. Jazz'edit. pp. 147–168.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ a b Koenig, Karl (1996). Trinity of early jazz leaders: John Robichaux, "Toots" Johnson, Claiborne Williams, with essays on: A.J. Piron, "Papa" Celestin, Bud Scott. Abita Springs, LA: Basic Street Press. pp. 196–211.
  5. ^ a b "French Creoles". Retrieved 2017-07-30.
  6. ^ a b Yanow, Scott. "Armand Piron". AllMusic. Retrieved October 7, 2018.
  7. ^ "Purple Rose of Cairo | Tulane University Digital Library". Retrieved 2017-07-30.
  8. ^ "Armand Piron's New Orleans Orchestra". Red Hot Jazz Archive. August 2020. Retrieved August 1, 2020.